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DANGEROUS TIMES, DANGEROUS PLACES: HOW POLITICS IMPACTS HUMANITARIAN WORKER SECURITY IN DR CONGO
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

DR Congo has experienced more than two decades of conflict and profound political upheaval, sparking humanitarian crises which have seen large-scale relief efforts to alleviate them. Aid workers and UN staff working there have been caught up in the violence, sometimes with deadly results and major disruption to aid operations. Nonetheless there has been a tendency to assume that most security incidents involving aid workers are a result either of pure criminality, or because the victims happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Is that really the case however, or are humanitarian workers perceived as political actors, and thus vulnerable to politically motivated violence? This dissertation conducts an empirical data study of attacks against humanitarian actors, UN workers and peacekeepers between 2006-2018, mapping them against political developments. Following previous work by Hoelscher, Mikllian & Nygard, this research tests what impact the nature of the conflict or the change of peacekeeping mandate has on both aid-worker and UN personnel security, as well as exploring the different risks faced by national and international staff working for international NGOs. It also, using an interpretivist lens first proposed by Labonte & Edgerton, explores the role of the Congolese state in aid-worker security, testing whether relations between the host government and aid providers can impact individual aid-worker security on the ground. The results indicate that both conflict intensity and elections cycles could impact on rates of attacks against aid-workers, as well as clearly demonstrating that national staff are far more exposed to risk of attack, and that fatalities of UN staff since the peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) in DRC received its more aggressive mandate in 2013 have risen sharply. The research also raises questions about the potential threat posed by the Congolese state to aid-worker security, given the nature of statehood in DRC, its motives and perceptions of aid operations, and the state’s role as both the main belligerent and security provider in zones where humanitarian workers chiefly operate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
humanitarian, security, aid-worker, governance, interpretivism, conflict, political violence, Congo, Kivu
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-394003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-394003DiVA, id: diva2:1356344
Educational program
Master Programme in Humanitarian Action and Conflict
Examiners
Available from: 2019-10-04 Created: 2019-10-01 Last updated: 2019-10-04Bibliographically approved

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